Recent Reads – April to October 2018

I haven’t done nearly enough reading this year.

I started 2018 off strong, with my previous Recent Reads post from January to March including four completed books.

(Well technically, three books and one novella, but one of those books was a reference for the next historical fiction novel I plan to write.  Reading that required highlighting and note-taking that slowed me down considerably, and perhaps balances out the novella’s shorter length.)

On average, I read a book a month, although in recent years my end-of-year total has been closer to 16 or 17.

Hence the inclusion of only four books in this current Recent Reads post shows that I’m more than a little behind schedule.

Nor am I certain, even with a few books currently on the go, that I’ll manage to catch up during the remainder of the year.

I just haven’t had time to read more published books—not between starting my critique group and working through my two CPs’ WIPs; rewriting whole sections of my own novel only to conclude that they’re still not right and need more revision; agreeing to beta read for a couple of people; and deciding for the time being to continue researching my next novel by listening to a history podcast.

Still, author and writing grand master Stephen King has famously written “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”  So too do I have a number of books on my TBR pile that I’m excited to read—this year if possible.

I purposely didn’t enter the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year because I knew I’d be busy and that the pressure of trying to hit a competitive target would be harmful to me.

But I haven’t given up on reading entirely, and continue to squeeze it in when and where I can—both as an ongoing part of my writing education and for the simple joy found between the pages of a good book.

Children of Blood and Bone
Tomi Adeyemi
Genre: YA dystopian fantasy
Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The setting in the book is definitely unique—a West African-inspired fantasy world formerly governed by a pantheon of black gods (based on the mythical Yoruba of Nigerian culture) and their magic-wielding disciples….  Unfortunately, the actual story that plays out across this mythical world is fairly standard fantasy fare[.]
Read the entire review

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Earthly Joys
Philippa Gregory
Genre: Mainstream historical fiction
Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I enjoyed this book nonetheless for its descriptions of the elaborate gardens that John designed and developed with such loving attention.  All the political goings-on in the story—England’s slow slide toward civil war on account of weakness of Charles I as a king—were really quite secondary to John and his plants[.]
Read the entire review

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A Touch of Gold
Annie Sullivan
Genre: YA Fantasy, myth retelling
Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This book started off really strong with Kora’s firsthand description having been turned into gold by her father. It’s quite visceral the way we are made to feel the gold replacing her blood and hardening in her heart.  My biggest problem was that beyond the Midas myth and an episode with the god Triton’s “temptresses” (i.e. sirens), the story didn’t really seem especially Greek.
Read the entire review

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A Court of Frost and Starlight
Sarah J. Maas
Genre: New Adult fantasy, romance
Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I have such a love-hate relationship with this series.  I love a lot of the characters and the worldbuilding of the fey lands with the different courts and their powers.  Yet I dislike how the series purports to be so feminist yet comes with so much mainstream, gendered baggage that is barely interrogated, let alone subverted….  Overall, this novella was pretty shy on plot[.]
Read the entire review

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What have you read recently?

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(Image source #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5)

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3 thoughts on “Recent Reads – April to October 2018

  1. I did parts of two books – a Martha Grimes mystery and The Honorary Consul (Graham Green) and am taking both back to the library unfinished. I used to read tons of these, but now that I’ve spent a lot of time refining my writing craft, I find it very hard to choose books that don’t annoy. Or maybe I wouldn’t have liked either anyway.

    The Green book was so male-centered that I just couldn’t get involved. And Grimes wandered so far afield in loving and boring detail that I wanted to just scream, “Get on with it!”

    Oh, well. At least I’m not compelled to finish any more. Just thought I could catch up on some reading during this forced hiatus while we get our whole lives reconnected, so I wandered through the library here, and grabbed two likely candidates from the G section of fiction. Sigh. I used to read anything, but now reading time is precious, and I need better.

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    • There are too many books in this world (and more being produced every day) to stick with any that you’re not enjoying. I usually read reviews or get recommendations from friends or social media to help me choose books I might like. I’m curious, though, why you specifically chose books from the G section? Is this something you do, selecting books based on the first letter of the author’s surname?

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      • The G section was right in front of me in my new facility’s library.

        I grabbed the Martha Grimes mystery because I had heard the name before. I hadn’t read her Richard Jury mysteries, but I didn’t like the way it meandered, and the tying together was too vague for me.

        Today I picked up a Sue Grafton I hadn’t read; I like hers. The other is a P.D. James. We’ll see if I finish the second one, as I like some of hers but have found others too British?

        I know thrillers and mysteries sell, but am tired of the constant exposure to bad guys and bad deeds. I don’t need sugar coatings, but it seems there is no depths to the black and white stories full of stereotypes and simple motives.

        I just need a distraction, but one that doesn’t insult my intelligence.

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